A gift from St. Olaf College alumnus Steven Fox ’77 established the Robert Scholz Endowed Chair in Music in 2013. Scholz, a 1961 St. Olaf graduate, served on the college’s music faculty for nearly four decades before retiring in 2005. He led the Chapel Choir, Viking Chorus, Campus Choir (now Cantorei), and Chamber Choir in addition to teaching voice, choral conducting, and choral literature. In addition to his academic work, Scholz helped found the St. Olaf Summer Music Camp and assisted in planning the St. Olaf Christmas Festival. In 1995 Scholz received the F. Melius Christiansen Award for outstanding contributions to choral music from the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. Christopher Aspaas was the first to hold this appointment.
Professor Steven Amundson joined the St. Olaf music faculty in the fall of 1981. He has led the St. Olaf Orchestra on annual tours throughout the United States and in eleven countries internationally. Under his direction, the orchestra received the 2013 American Prize for Orchestral Performance among colleges and universities and was twice was featured on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.
Amundson was the founding conductor of the Metropolitan Symphony in Minneapolis and served as the music director of the Bloomington (MN) Symphony Orchestra from 1984-1997. He has guest conducted professional ensembles including Duluth-Superior Symphony, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has guest conducted high school honors and all-state orchestras in over 25 states.
A commissioned composer, Amundson’s orchestral works have received over 750 performances by university, civic and professional orchestras in the U.S., the U.K., Taiwan and Cananda. The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the Houston Symphony have recorded his Angels’ Dance. In 1992, the Minnesota Music Educators Association named Amundson Orchestra Educator of the Year. In 1995, Luther College awarded him the Sperati Award for meritorious achievement in the field of music.